Bjorn’s Corner: Aircraft engine maintenance, Part 3

 

By Bjorn Fehrm

March 17, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: In the last Corner,  we showed graphs of the yearly flight hours for engines on single-aisle aircraft. Now we will deduce the market for engine overhauls from these graphs.

These will show which engines generate a maintenance volume that is interesting for engine overhaul companies and which engines are niche.

Figure 1. Principal picture of a direct drive turbofan. Source: GasTurb.

Based on the market size, we will then go through how an engine is maintained when new, mature and at end-of-life.

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CDB Leasing aims for 500-600 aircraft portfolio

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Introduction

March 16, 2017, © Leeham Co.: China’s evolving commercial aerospace and aviation industry has high-profile companies such as AVIC and COMAC, and its expanding supplier based, combined with joint ventures with Western companies is well known.

Less well known is the growth in the aircraft leasing business. Increasingly, Chinese lessors are showing up on the order lists of the Big Four aircraft manufacturers. Still, there remains a bit of a mystery about the lessors and dynamics within China.

LNC spoke with the newly appointed CEO of CDB Leasing during the ISTAT conference last week in San Diego.

Peter Chang has been in the Western leasing business for decades, employed in key positions with Aviation Capital Group, ILFC and Aircastle—usually with responsibility for China.

He was named CEO of CDB in December, a move that was announced during the January Dublin conferences of Airlines Economics and Airfinance Journal. More key personnel announcements were made during ISTAT.

In an exclusive interview, LNC asked Chang about the origins of CDB, other Chinese lessors, the current policy of restricting flow of Chinese cash outside the country, the Boeing 737-10 and the Bombardier CSeries.

Here is this interview.

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Spirit AeroSystems, the world’s largest aerostructures company

A feature report.

By Bjorn Fehrm

March 15, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Spirit AeroSystems is the world’s largest aerostructures supplier, with main facilities in Wichita (KS). I visited Wichita early March and was given a guided tour of the factories. It was a tour of contrasts.

In production hall two, the Boeing 737 fuselages are riveted together in much the same way as the Boeing B-29 Stratofortress was produced there during World War II. “Rosie the riveter” is replaced with a robot, but the hall still has a busy charm.

Figure 1. Hall two, the main 737 production area. Source: Spirit AeroSystems.

In another hall, the production is silent. The winding of the Boeing Dreamliner’s forward fuselage from rolls of tape is made with a swooshing sound. There are few people around; the machines rule.  Everything is mega large; tape-layers, tools, autoclaves, the lot. Read more

New Airbus-Japan venture aims for new aircraft

March 14, 2017, © Leeham Co.: A new partnership, still in the Memorandum of Cooperation stage, between France and Japan aims to expand a relationship that could lead to joint development of advanced aircraft for Airbus.

The MOC was signed between the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry of Japan (METI) and the Directorate General for Civil Aviation of the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy (MEDDE) of the French Republic.

“An Airbus-Japan Ad Hoc Civil Aeronautical Industry Working Group will be established, and it will meet on a regular basis to discuss technology fields that could be considered for cooperation between Airbus and Japan such as material, aircraft system and equipment, or manufacturing technologies for the development of future Airbus aircraft,” Airbus said in a March 1 press statement announcing the MOC.

Airbus sales historically trailed Boeing badly in Japan, although the current backlog leans slightly in the European OEM’s favor: 87 to 74.

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Pontifications: Boeing MAX 10, “797” NMA dominated ISTAT headlines

By Scott Hamilton

March 13, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The soft launch of the Boeing 737-10 and the prospective Boeing “797” Middle of the Market aircraft easily were the headline news items to come out of the annual ISTAT conference in San Diego last week.

The “797,” as the MOM-sector aircraft was unofficially dubbed, brought enthusiastic reaction.

The MAX 10, not so much.

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Boeing 737 MAX 10 analyzed

By Bjorn Fehrm

Note: Boeing’s “soft launch” of the 737-10 MAX at the ISTAT conference in San Diego a week ago met with some sharp criticism by lessors and some others. Within hours, Boeing scheduled a conference call for reporters the next day to defend and promote the airplaneLNC closely tracked the development of the MAX 10 and its competivitive position vis-a-vis the Airbus A321neo. Here is our first detailed, public analysis of the MAX 10.–Editor.

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Introduction

March 12, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Boeing has taken the wraps of the 737 MAX 10. Its overall configuration has long been known to LNC, but we now have more data and performance claims that we can analyze.

Boeing claims the MAX 10 flies farther, cheaper and with just about the same numbers of passengers as the class-leading Airbus A321neo.We now have enough data to analyze if this is true. We put the data in our performance model and here is the result.

Summary:
  • Boeing’s claims on a basic level seem OK. The seating is close to the A321neo.
  • On a higher level it starts to stutter. Our model can’t agree on the 5% better economics.
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Bjorn’s Corner: Aircraft engines maintenance, Part 2

 

By Bjorn Fehrm

March 10, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Last week we started the series how airline turbofans are maintained. We described the typical work scopes and what the intervals were for different single-aisle engines.

Before we can describe the engine maintenance market we must get a feel for the market size for different engine types.

 

Figure 1. Principal picture of a direct drive turbofan. Source: GasTurb.

We will start with understanding the single-aisle engine maintenance market. Read more

NMA “important step” for Boeing, says leading lessor

John Plueger, CEO of Air Lease Corp. Photo via Google images.

March 9, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Proceeding with a New Mid-range Airplane (NMA) is “an important step for Boeing,” says the CEO of one of the world’s preeminent leasing companies. On the other hand, Airbus probably is covered in the Middle of the Market sector.

John Plueger, CEO of Air Lease Corp, agrees with Airbus claims that it has the MOM sector covered.

“From Airbus’ perspective, I think that’s true,” he said in an interview with LNC during the ISTAT annual general meeting in San Diego this week. “I don’t think they feel they have a gap. They’re quite happy with the A321neo. The success of that airplane speaks for itself. They’ve got the A330neo. It would be very easy for them to just do a lighter weight version of the A330neo and whack $7m to $10m off the price of that airplane to compete.

“The question is whether operators will need the range of the neo in that equation,” he said.

“I also think…they are looking at modifying the wing for the A321 possibly even a new wing, which could increase the performance capability of that airplane significantly. For the Airbus product line, I would agree, I don’t think there is a need.”

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CRJ-200 an unexpected success in P2F market

March 8, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Bombardier CRJ-200s, rapidly being phased out of passenger service and consigned to the scrap yard, proved to be an unexpected success for freighter conversion company (Aeronautical Engineering Inc (AEI).

Converting the CRJ-200 from passenger to freighter as intended to be a bridge between the Boeing 737-400 and 737-800 P2F programs, Robert Convey, SVP Sales and Marketing, told LNC at the annual meeting of ISTAT in San Diego.

Rather than being a program for a handful of conversions, within three years, Convey landed 54 orders and counting.

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If Boeing builds MAX 10, will customers come?

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Introduction

March 7, 2017, © Leeham Co.: If Boeing builds the 737-10, which appears increasingly likely, will customers come?

This is always the multi-billion-dollar question for any aircraft and engine manufacturer.

For Boeing, launching the 737-10 is a low-risk, and in the eyes of many, futile effort to stem the bleeding of market share between the MAX 9 and its rival, the Airbus A321neo.

  • “That’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard. What is he, flying downhill?” Airbus’ John Leahy reacting to claims by Boeing’s Randy Tinseth that the 737-10 has more range than the A321neo.

Depending on who’s counting and how the numbers are calculated, the A321 sales outpace the MAX 9 by a factor of four or five to one. LNC calculated last year that the ratio is more likely 3:1, identical to the market share split between the predecessor airplanes, the 737-900ER and the A321ceo.

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